KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – The Alabama women’s golf team is guaranteed at least one finalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur as the Crimson Tide’s Kristen Gillman, Lauren Stephenson and Jiwon Jeon all advanced to Saturday’s semifinals with come-from-behind quarterfinal wins at the Golf Club of Tennessee on Friday afternoon.
Both Gillman and Jeon needed an extra hole to secure their spots in the semifinals as each forced playoffs in their matches with wins on the 18th hole. Stephenson rallied from 2-down on the back nine to clinch her match on No. 17 and will meet Jeon in one of Saturday’s semifinals at the par-71, 6,365-yard layout in Kingston Springs.
Gillman, who entered the tournament No. 6 in the World Amateur Rankings, was 2-down through nine holes against world ninth-ranked Lucy Li and one down heading to 18 before forcing a 19th hole with a birdie. Gillman then won the first playoff hole with a par on the par-3, No. 10. The victory puts the Austin, Texas, native into the semifinals for the first time since winning the U.S. Amateur in 2014.
“Today was fun,” Gillman said. “(Lucy) is one of my really good friends. She’s a great player so I really enjoy playing with her. She made a long putt on the first hole and another one later to go 2-up so I knew I just had to stay in there and keep fighting. We both played our hearts out.”
Gillman will face SEC rival Kaylee Benton of Arkansas in Saturday morning’s first semifinal at 8 a.m. Benton advanced with a 3-and-2 win over Ohio State’s Jaclyn Lee.
As she did in the Round of 16, Stephenson rallied on the back nine on Friday to post a 2-and-1 win. Stephenson was 2-down against Lauren Greenlief through 10 holes but posted birdies on four of the final six holes to win the match on 17.
“Today was a little bit different than the other rounds because I had been up on the front nine so being 2-down was a little bit different,” Stephenson said. “I still kept a positive attitude and just tried to play my best coming in. I’ve never been in the semifinals so to make it this far, especially after last year, is just an honor. I can’t wait to be there tomorrow.”
This will be Stephenson’s first appearance in the semifinals in five trips to the U.S. Amateur.
Stephenson will face her new Alabama teammate Jeon after the junior transfer advanced with a 19-hole win over Baylor’s Gurleen Kaur.
Jeon won the first hole in her match with Kaur but did not lead again until ending the match with a win on first playoff hole. The Daegu, South Korea, native won only four holes in regulation and was 1-down before forcing the extra hole with a par on 18.
“It’s amazing to think there will be three Alabama players in the semifinals,” Jeon said. “I never thought about (reaching the semifinals) coming up here, but I just played golf and worked hard. I’m very excited about tomorrow.”
Stephenson and Jeon will begin their semifinal at 8:15 a.m. CT on Saturday. The pair are ranked No. 5 and No. 10, respectively, in the world rankings.
Coverage of Saturday’s semifinals will begin at 9 a.m. on FS2.